Wind wrote:But it is rather discouraging that none of us have met one with full confidence
BlackBird wrote:Wind wrote:But it is rather discouraging that none of us have met one with full confidence
It might be helpful to remember that monastics are bound by the Vinaya not to speak of their attainments with lay people. Furthermore what would you think if a person did tell you they were enlightened? How long before doubt rears it's head? Maybe there's good reason to doubt, there's no shortage of people out there claiming have got it. But a true teacher does not have a neon sign pointing out "Arahant over here!" No, one has to search and those with effort, I dare say shall be rewarded.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I have met several well known meditation masters: Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw was my preceptor, I stayed with Taung Pulu Sayādaw for a week or two, I met Ajahn Chah and Sayādaw U Pandita a few times, among other well regarded teachers.
It is not unusual to hear claims by disciples that such and such a teacher is definitely an Arahant, but how do they know this? Do they themselves have the power of reading minds? At best, it is an intelligent guess based on a long and intimate association with a teacher, but even then it would be hard to know for sure.
Though in the beginning it was mentioned that this treatise has been written for those who have already obtained distinctive results in their practice, others may perhaps read it with advantage, too.
Now these are my concluding good wishes for the latter type of readers: Just as a very delicious, appetizing, tasty and nutritious meal can be appreciated fully only by one who has himself eaten it, and not without partaking of it, in the same way, the whole series of knowledges described here can be understood fully only by one who has himself seen it by direct experience, and not otherwise. So may all good people reach the stage of indubitable understanding of this whole series of knowledges! May they also strive to attain it!
It has been emphasised during this brief outline of the training that you must contemplate on each mental occurrence, good or bad; on each bodily movement large or small; on every sensation (bodily or mental feeling) pleasant or unpleasant; and so on. If, during the course of training, occasions arise when there is nothing special to contemplate upon, be fully occupied with attention to the rising and falling of the abdomen. When you have to attend to any kind of activity that necessitates walking, then, in complete awareness, each step should be briefly noted as walking, walking or left, right. But when you are taking a walking exercise, contemplate on each step in three sections; up, forward, down. The student who thus dedicates himself or herself to the training day and night, will be able in not too long a time, to develop concentration to the initial stage of the fourth degree of insight (knowledge of arising and passing away) and onward to higher stages of insight meditation (vipassanā-bhavana).
It is my humble and sincere wish to help you discover for yourself the state of inner peace through the essays in this book, based on the Dhamma, or way of truth, taught by the Buddha and also following the tradition of the late Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw of Rangoon, Burma. I am trying my best, as far as my wisdom can take me, to provide this service to you.
The last and perhaps the most fulfilling aspect is that you may be able to tally your own experiences with what is written in this book. If your practice is deep, it can be a joyous and rapturous occasion when you realize that your experiences conform to the theory.
I offer you my personal best wishes and encouragement. May you reach liberation, the highest goal.
mikenz66 wrote:These, and other, passages are quite clearly stating that those teachers have seen many students make significant progress along these paths. It would seem rather illogical that they had not themselves experienced those insights.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:In the former case, supposing that one's confidence is well placed and one's teacher really is an Arahant, does it help to remove one's own defilements? Or does it lead to an increase in defilements such as pride, thinking “My teacher is an Arahant?”
The bottom line is that there is no way for us to know whether someone else is an Arahant, and it doesn't really matter. As long as we have confidence that the Buddha was an Arahant, and strive to practice his teaching, we can remove at least some of our defilements.
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